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July 2012 

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In This Issue
The Amazing Manioc
Farming Fields Together
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The Amazing Manioc
This humble root, which looks like a cross between an eggplant and a giant acorn, sustains countless impoverished African communities. Otherwise known as cassava, manioc is a starch indigenous to the tropics. When boiled and mashed, it will remain edible for weeks. If you were a boarding school student at one of the Sisters' schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you would arrive with weeks' worth of the mashed staple encased in the plant's large leaves. You would then parse out your food allotment for the duration of the semester. To add nutritional content to their students' meager diet, the Sisters work with the students to maintain gardens yielding a variety of vegetables.  
The Congolese Sisters use the names of local food products as examples to illustrate their school lessons.
The people are waiting for hoes and shovels...   
A Congolese Sister consults with local farmers.
Farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo would like nothing more than to plant all 148 acres of land owned by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Just a quarter of  the acreage is currently being cultivated. In a land where children are starving and entire communities are malnourished, it's difficult to watch the land lie fallow. Without the necessary tools and equipment, the land cannot be cultivated.  That's why the Sisters are once again collaborating with IMEC (International Medical Equipment Collaborative). IMEC coordinates shipments of farming tools as well as medical equipment to impoverished communities around the world. Last October, the Congregation worked with IMEC to assemble and ship farm tools to its schools in Peru. This year, the Sisters in Congo are slated to receive a farm tool shipment -- but only if we raise the necessary funds
to purchase the tools.
"We cannot ask people to plant if they do not see us planting..."
Students at an SNDdeN school in the Democratic Republic of Congo pay close attention to agriculture instruction demonstrated by a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur.
Throughout Africa, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur work in the fields alongside people with whom they live and serve. Their goal is to increase irrigation and fertilization efficiency as well as crop variety. The Congolese Sisters plant sweet potatoes, peanuts and beans in addition to manioc. Food insecurity plagues the communities where the Sisters live. As agents of change and advocates for social justice, the Sisters put systems in place that help sustain impoverished people. As educators, the Sisters provide practical solutions that encourage students to concentrate on their studies.     
Hoes Lead to Hope
Hungry children cannot learn. Hungry children succumb to what would be considered minor illnesses in the developed world. With the click of a mouse, you have the power to purchase farm tools for impoverished farmers and their hungry children half a world away.         
Sister Leonore Coan   
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Congregational Mission Office